The air is clear and fresh, the morning mist has just lifted, a harrier sweeps silently over the reeds and the distinctive sound of a bittern fills the air. Time stands still as you take in the smell of damp meadows and freshly brewed coffee. You pick up your thermos, pop some freshly baked bread from the local bakery into your picnic basket and head out into nature for an unforgettable encounter with Gotland’s birds.
Its isolated location in the middle of the Baltic Sea makes Gotland a natural resting place for thousands of birds as they migrate to and from their breeding grounds in the north. You can experience Gotland’s birdlife all year round, but spring and autumn are particularly special, as huge numbers of migratory birds gather along the shallow beaches and rocky shoreline, as well as in coastal woods. Gotland is also the most eagle dense location in Sweden and offers a great chance of close encounters with both golden and sea eagles. The island has several observation towers, strategically placed at the top sites, which give a great overview of the landscape and an increased potential for new discoveries.
Gotland also has several lakes, or ‘swamps’ (träsk) as we call them, and these shallow, reedy marshes are the perfect habitat for herons, ducks and crakes. You’ll also find an abundance of waders in the edge of the reeds.
Karlsöarnaliesa short distance into the sea on the southwest side of the island and boasts the Baltic Sea's largest bird cliffs, home to thousands of auks, guillemots and razorbills.
Gotland, with its unique location far from the mainland’s coasts, is perfectly positioned to meet seldom-seen feathered friends. The collared flycatcher (halsbandsflugsnapparen), one of Sweden’s more unusual breeding birds, can be seen in abundance on Gotland from May to August. The very rare middle spotted woodpecker (mellanspetten) has been sighted in the early spring in the park at Lummelundsbruk, north of Visby. The middle spotted woodpecker nested on the Swedish mainland until 1982, but has only been seen once since then, in Skåne in 1994.
When you meet Gotland’s nature with an open mind, who knows what's around the next corner…